What is it?
England v Sri Lanka in a World Cup group game. Sri Lanka’s only win of the tournament was a narrow, rain-affected one against an Afghanistan side England have just beaten by 150 runs. Two washouts have kept Sri Lanka in the tournament but defeat here would all-but end their hopes. England, by contrast, will be top with a victory and a win away from securing a last-four spot. You can check out the latest standings here.
When is it?
Friday June 21, with a 10.30am BST start time.
Where is it?
The World Cup hits Leeds for the first time as Headingley hosts its first game of the 2019 tournament. The weather forecast looks okay – you always get better weather up north. Get more details on Headingley here.
Where can I watch it?
It’s on Sky Sports Main Event (ch 401) and Sky Sports Cricket (ch 404) in the UK.
What are the odds?
England aren’t quite the 1/25 shots they were by the time the Afghanistan game began, but they’re still overwhelming favourites at 1/10 with Paddy Power to collect their fifth win of the tournament, while the 1996 champions are 6/1 outsiders.
England at the 2019 World Cup
May 30: England (311/8, 50/50 overs) beat South Africa (207, 39.5/50 overs) by 104 runs
June 3: Pakistan (348/8, 50/50 overs) beat England (334/9, 50/50 overs) by 14 runs
June 8: England (386/6, 50/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (280, 48.5/50 overs) by 106 runs
June 14: England (213/2, 33.1/50 overs) beat West Indies (212, 44.4/50 overs) by eight wickets
June 18: England (397/6, 50/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (247/8, 50/50 overs) by 150 runs
Sri Lanka at the 2019 World Cup
June 1: New Zealand (137/0, 16.1/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (136, 29.2 overs) by 10 wickets
June 4: Sri Lanka (201, 36.5/41 overs) beat Afghanistan (152, 32.4/41 overs) by 34 runs (DLS method)
June 7: Pakistan v Sri Lanka – Match Abandoned
June 11: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka – Match Abandoned
June 15: Australia (334/7, 50/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (247, 45.5/50 overs) by 87 runs
England v Sri Lanka Betting Preview
England have won their last six ODIs at Headingley, and haven’t lost in Leeds since 2011. That defeat was against Sri Lanka, but a very different Sri Lanka side to the one England face here.
Historically Headingley is not a particularly high-scoring ground, but that’s all changed in recent years. Even before their 2015 reinvention, England had made some decent scores here, chasing 295 to beat Pakistan in 2010, and making 294/7 to beat India in 2014.
They’ve played here five times since becoming properly good at one-day cricket. In the two games they’ve batted first they’ve made 339/6 against South Africa and 351/9 against Pakistan. They’ve chased 260 with five overs to spare against India and 300 to beat Australia.
In short, it’s hard to feel too optimistic about Sri Lanka’s chances in a game where the odds would be stacked against them at any ground but even more so here. Sri Lanka have batted only three times in a rain-ruined tournament for them, but have failed to convince. They were rolled for 136 by New Zealand and then made just 201 against Afghanistan and 247 against Australia despite getting great starts in both those innings.
England will surely win the game, but so weak is Sri Lanka’s batting that it’s hard to confidently attack the sub-markets without knowing who is batting first. England do tend to concede more runs than the other top sides, especially against weaker opposition, but they have also bowled out South Africa and West Indies for totals around 200.
If England are batting first then the total sixes markets are all worth a look, but too risky if it’s Sri Lanka batting first – especially with a 10.30am start in Leeds.
However things pan out, the enhanced Power Price of 7/2 for Joe Root to be England’s top run-scorer looks an obvious but perfectly fair play. He is the most consistent batsman in the side – close to the most consistent in the world right now – and has already top-scored twice in five games at this tournament as well as missing out when making 88 against Afghanistan. In his current form, he is almost certain to give you a run for your money whether England are setting or chasing a target.
James Vince will continue to open in the absence of Jason Roy. While he is a fine and capable player, his record for England is fulll of unconverted starts. He gets a 37.5 runs line which is probably half-a-dozen too high based on his stats. While he has reached 20 in six of his nine ODI innings to date, he has reached 38 in only two of them. The 10/11 that he falls short of 38 once again is in our favour.
Paddy’s Power Prices
England v Sri Lanka Key Men
Mark Wood (England)
Jofra Archer is getting most of the attention having taken 12 wickets in five games during the tournament thus far, but the equally fast yet very different Mark Wood has been just as important for England.
While Archer’s high action and accuracy from a delivery close to the stumps and that bouncer that comes from nowhere have instantly made him one of the most feared bowlers in the world, Wood’s skiddier trajectory and unpredictability makes him a different but no less testing challenge.
He has also come into form at just the right time. His 2/40 against Afghanistan on Tuesday was his seventh successive ODI with two or more wickets. To put that in context, in his other 37 ODI appearances he had taken two or more wickets only six times.
Wood is also proving to be something of a tournament specialist for England. His overall ODI record is 52 wickets at 40.09 apiece and an economy rate of 5.54. But in the 2017 Champions Trophy and this World Cup he’s taken 14 wickets in eight games at 23.07 and just 4.50 an over.
Kusal Perera (Sri Lanka)
There is little to write home about in Sri Lanka’s bowling performances at this World Cup, and there appears little chance of their attack being the first to keep England below 300 over a full innings this summer.
What hope Sri Lanka have is surely based on putting runs on the board, and doing so at pace. Enter Kusal Perera. The exciting left-hander made a crucial 81-ball 78 against Afghanistan and had the Lions dreaming of a famous run-chase against Australia when blazing his way to 52 off 36 at The Oval.
Mitchell Starc eventually got his man, but Perera showed willingness to take on the 150km/h men Starc and Cummins which stands him in good stead for the challenge that awaits him against England.
World Cup head-to-head record: England 6-4 Sri Lanka
One of very few reasons for optimism among Sri Lankan followers will be their recent World Cup history against England. They have beaten England at each of the last three World Cups. While the 2007 Super Eight game was a thriller settled only when Dilhara Fernando bowled Ravi Bopara with the final ball of the match, the last two have been 10-wicket and nine-wicket thrashings.
England 229/6 at Colombo in the 2011 quarter-final never looked enough. More chastening still, neither did the 309/6 England managed in Wellington four years ago, centuries from Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara easing Sri Lanka to victory.
England’s last World Cup win over Sri Lanka came the last time the World Cup was in England, with Alan Mullally (4/31), Alec Stewart (88) and Graeme Hick (73*) easing England to an eight-wicket win over the defending champions in the opening match of the tournament at Lord’s.
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